Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) seeking unified device and identity access management often take a multi-vendor approach. JumpCloud, a company that helps centralize management across users and devices, recently introduced its free cloud-based Remote Assist solution to provide a missing link to remote tech support.
I caught up with Principal Product Manager Tom Bridge to find out more.
What does Remote Access do?
Remote Assist reflects the company’s mission to provide IT teams and MSPs with a single space from which to manage identities, devices, and access. Rather than cobbling together a variety of point solutions, IT teams can now reduce cost, while increasing productivity and security, with a modern cloud directory.
The solution integrates with a range of device management systems, including Jamf, and can handle macOS, Windows, and (soon) Linux.
Remote Access enables an admin with perhaps a user in the field having a difficult time to see the screen of a remote system through an encrypted channel.
Admins can guide users to resolve issues by seeing their screen, or they can take control of the device with the user’s permission. Admins will have exactly what they need to support workers no matter where they — or their admin — happens to be.
Apple’s enterprise story
Apple continues to build market share in the enterprise.
“Apple has nearly doubled its market share in the enterprise over the last five years due to a lot of hard work from Cupertino on usability, manageability, and security,” Bridge said. “There’s no question that they’ve made major strides in working with Enterprise IT and Security departments, but they still have a lot to learn about how large businesses manage their IT resources.”
It’s clear that Apple is investing in enterprise functionalities, starting with Platform SSO, which is a new way for users of Apple devices to link their accounts with Identity Providers like JumpCloud. There’s a huge amount of activity taking place in the Apple/enterprise space.
There’s room for even more growth, he said, pointing out that Macs now outperform most other laptops in both battery life and computational power at a competitive price to PCs. (And they are steadily gobbling increased PC market share.)
“Honestly, the hardest part of Apple’s job is continuing to overcome a history of expensive products without justifying their value in terms that corporate finance can handle and digest,” he said.
New enterprise, new skill base
In the new world of work, IT has had to deliver support to remote employees. “Handling remote work for macOS as opposed to Windows is little different, but for organizations with employee-choice programs, supporting a second major platform means cross-training and hiring people with different skills,” he said.
That emerging skills gap drove Apple to develop free training courses and to support programs such as the Mac Admins Foundation to help resolve these staffing issues.
Will we return to the office?
The huge disconnect between presenteeism-obsessed managers and the needs of the new workforce means many employers continue to try to corral people back to the office, despite ample evidence that doing so is actually bad for business.
“There’s a concerted movement by management to get workers back into the offices they’re paying to rent, either out of a need to justify their existence, or out of a desire to return to the pre-pandemic office experience,” Bridge said. “There’s absolutely benefits to working in the same space — team building, group planning, serendipitous meetings —but they’re not required every day, and I’d argue that it creates a healthy separation between work and life to not be together all the time.
“We’ve developed some incredible tools for collaboration that don’t require everyone crammed into an open plan office with tiny desks, uncomfortable chairs…. More flexible office life is a way of broadening the abilities and outlooks of your staff by not confining them to a 2-hour drive to your office. Get together, for sure, but make it mean something, please.”
Why is now the right time for Remote Access?
“There’s a saying about planting trees: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago,” he said. “The second best time is right now. We’re excited to be entering the remote access market as a part of a more mature and capable JumpCloud.
“Admins are clamoring for tools that serve the entirety of their needs, and adding Remote Access, as we’ve added Password Manager, is a way of providing tools that Admins need in contexts they already understand.”
JumpCloud Remote Assist will be free for any organization to use, at any scale, for any number of devices, without any limits on time.
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